In today’s world, businesses working with the government are presented with immense opportunities for growth. To thrive, contractors must understand the potential risks and implications involved in this type of work. It can be difficult for decision makers to stay current on already complex regulations. Government contractors need counsel who adeptly maneuver through the intricacies of government statutes while keeping success of the business top of mind.
For decades, Taft’s Government Contract group has been helping contractors of all sizes navigate through not only the applicable regulations and statutes but also through the bureaucratic and the pragmatic. With our support, clients focus on the end objective and how best to get there – efficiently, effectively and economically. Our team considers itself part of our clients’ teams. We believe our commitment and service is what immediately and continually distinguishes us from peers.
Taft has extensive experience supporting Fortune 100 companies, as well as entrepreneurial, privately-held, small business, nonprofit and government clients.
We counsel clients on complex issues such as:
- Technical data rights and intellectual property issues.
- Commercial items.
- Country of origin determinations.
- Buy American Act, Trade Agreements Act and Berry Amendment issues.
- Federal Supply Schedule issues.
- Conducting procurement compliance audits.
- Mandatory disclosures of all types of issues.
- Defending civil and criminal allegations of false claims or whistleblower suits.
- Representation of contractors in suspension and debarment proceedings.
- Construction claims work.
- Matters involving international or cross-cultural concerns, e.g., USAID, ACOE and other OCONUS procurements.
Companies that choose to pursue federal or state and local contracts have the right to challenge an award made to others in error. We work with companies that have lost contracts to help them determine whether challenging (or protesting) the award makes sense. If so, we represent them in protesting the loss and helping them chose the best forum to do so — to the agency, to the Government Accountability Office or to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. What makes this process so unusual is that, in almost every protest, after the protest is filed, the contractor cannot participate personally because only the attorneys are allowed to see information under the routinely-instituted Protective Order. We build trust with our clients from the outset since we are their eyes and ears in the protest proceeding.
It is imperative for government contractors to understand the complicated regulations affecting their intellectual property assests when used for a government contract and the work is funded with tax dollars. Understanding when and how a contractor needs to protect its intellectual property or obtain rights to intellectual property developed under federal contracts is more complex and counter-intuitive to the standard copyright and patent rights of the commercial world. Taft’s Government Contract team understands the differences, the nuances and the solutions to acquire and protect intellectual property.
Doing business with the government, at any level, requires a working knowledge of the opportunities available to small businesses, including woman-owned businesses, minority –owned business, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, 8(a) contractors (socially and economically disadvantaged businesses) and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones. Taft’s Government Contract group has extensive experience in working with these types of small businesses to help them achieve success while working within the bounds of the applicable legal federal or local regulations. Similarly, Taft’s lawyers work with large businesses to identify and work with the best suited small business partners through a variety of government programs.
Disputes & Claims
In addition, when a government customer asks for more work or when unanticipated situations occur causing a contractor’s costs to increase, the contractor needs to understand the rigid process for pursuing its rights to claim the additional time or money involved. Our attorneys understand these processes and help clients navigate through various stages to achieve maximum results in the shortest period of time.
Federal and state and local governments also require contractors to comply with a myriad of social, economic and environmental requirements well beyond those in any commercial or other private sector contract. Businesses must comply with a separate set of rules (Contract Cost Principles and Procedures) that differ from generally accepted accounting principles. Regardless of how well a contract can be performed, companies that fail to comply with these additional obligations expose themselves to criminal and civil penalties for non-compliance.
Taft’s Government Contracts team has over 50 years of experience working with companies to assess these risks before they bid – from analyzing existing systems to ensure compliance, helping contractors institute or re-structure compliance programs and, when non-compliances occur, helping to disclose them effectively.